And now we go from parliamentary elections in Serbia to local elections in France. The first round of these elections took place last Sunday, the second round is this weekend. The elections will determine the political fate of around 33 thousand mayors. One local representative, running for a seventh consecutive term of office, is standing out during this campaign: by prohibiting death in his village. John Laurenson has more in this postcard.
This weekend people in France are going to the polls to vote for their local governments: mayors, regional and local governing councils. Mayors and local governments are the first point of call for the problems and daily concerns of French citizens. But these elections are also seen as a referendum on the national government: the results of the president's party will reflect what people think of him. Calais, in the north of France, is one of the last Communist party strongholds in the country. The opposition has put together an unconventional campaign to try to oust the mayor. Radio France International's Sarah Elzas has this report from Calais.
9 months after general elections Belgians finally look set for a new Prime Minister. The political stalemate - which was the longest in Belgian history - raised the prospect of a split between the French-speaking Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemings. Last week Walloon and Flemish politicians finally broke the d eadlock after agreeing on the first steps to reform the country. The deal paves the way for a new government to be formed by Easter -- with Yves Leterme, leader of the Flemish Christian Democrats, taking over from interim prime minister Guy Verhofstadt. But is the Belgian political crisis now really resolved? My colleague Vanessa Moch from Radio Netherlands put that quesion to the former Belgian Prime Minister Mark Eyskens.
Nicolas Sarkozy promised to give France a good shake - but was Europe shaken by the result of the French elections? Listen to this - had Germans, Italians, Spaniards and Britons had their way - France would now have its first female president. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux sounded out the opinions of European commentators and correspondents in pre-election Paris
Six weeks after Poles voted the conservative Law and Justice party out of office, Poland's new government is in place, with Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the helm. So what does the Polish man-in-the-street expect from the new leadership? And what does the new cabinet stand for? Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio's External Service reports.
Parliamentary elections in Poland have brought about far-reaching changes on the country’s political scene. The governing conservative party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski suffered a stinging defeat at the hands of the centre right opposition. The news was welcomed in Brussels and across Europe as well as Poland, but this doesn’t necessarily spell the end of twin brother politics and the Kaczynski era.
In Switzerland the Swiss people’s party has come out the clear leader – winning almost 29% of the vote. It’s the party’s best showing ever. The party ran a campaign criticised by some as racist. It says it wants to deport foreigners who commit crimes and keep Switzerland out of the European union.
Ukrainians went to the polls last weekend, to finally settle months of deadlock between pro-Western and pro-Russian parties. Election results so far show big gains for the Orange coalition parties of Yulia Tymoshenko and Victor Yushchenko. Here's the Briefing from Brussels with a full round up of EU news.
Ukrainians head back to the polls on September 30 for fresh parliamentary elections that aim to end months of political deadlock and confusion. Many Ukrainians hoped that the Orange Revolution of 2004 would lead to political reform and stability. But those high expectations have waned. In the ensuing three years the leaders of the Orange Revolution, who were advocating democracy and closer ties with the west have fallen out with each other. And Ukraine's parliament has witnessed punch ups, power cuts and party swapping not to mention allegations of bribes and corruption. So what do Ukrainians think about their lawmakers and the Orange Revolution three years on? Deutsche Welle’s Guy Degen has been gauging the mood.
French electors are going to the polls for the third time in less than two months to vote. The first round of the parliamentary elections is on Sunday. France’s new President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is hoping that his right wing UMP camp will win a majority, or else he will have to appoint a leftwing Prime Minister, who will then form a leftwing government. But opinion Polls indicate that’s very unlikely. Why?
In France voters will hit the polls this Sunday and the large majority of the electorate is still undecided on who to support. However France's neighbours have been closely following the French election campaign and it seems that Ségolène Royal is their preferred president. Twice as many would prefer the French socialist presidential candidate, compared to her conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy. That’s the results of a Harris Interactive survey for the Financial Times newspaper canvasing opinions in Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain. Admittedly that’s only four out of twenty seven European member states, and it’s just an opinion poll. Radio France Internationale's Nick Champeaux sounded out the opinions of European correspondents in the French capital.
And we should soon know the outcome of that campaign for the presidential election. The first round of voting is on April the 22d. Opinion polls, for what they're worth, put the right wing candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the lead, followed by socialist Ségolène Royal, centre right François Bayrou, and number four is the far right contender Jean Marie Le Pen. Surveys show that forty per cent of the electorate, 18 million voters, are still undecided. Working class voters often leave it to the last days of the campaign to make up their mind. Blue collar workers account for a quarter of the electorate, so they will be the king-makers so to speak. That's why all the candidates are going out of their way to seduce them. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux reports from Charleville -Mézière, in the Champagne Ardennes region, in the north-east of France.
With exactly two weeks to go till the French presidential elections many people are wondering: can Jean Marie Le Pen repeat his 2002 performance ? Five years ago France was shocked when the right wing candidate Jean Marie Le Pen, came second to incumbent Jacques Chirac in the first round of the presidential election. Now, with high unemployment, and tension in the country’s immigrant suburbs, commentators are no longer ruling out a repeat of 2002.
Despite the recent French reputation for saying no to Europe, like Stephen mentioned, more than 70 percent of French are proud to be European…. So says a recently published French poll, published a month before the French presidential elections. The same survey asked French citizens who they thought they would best be able to move the European Experiment forward as France’s next president. So who are these candidates and what are they proposing to do for the future of Europe?
On the face of it, French journalists should be delighted. With only five weeks to go before the first round, the French presidential campaign is still wide open, the main candidates have a lot of personality, and one of them is even photogenic. But actually journalists in France are a bit depressed. Almost sixty per cent of French people say they're not satisfied with the media's coverage of the campaign. And to make things worse, there are now TV shows with no journalists at all, where citizens question the candidates directly. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux is still happy, but thought he should find out more about why some of his fellow professionals aren't.
She's the socialist candidate for april's presidential elections, and has become something of a media darling in the past year, with the papparazzi snapping her with her children and even on holiday in a bikini. Attention her centre right rival, Nicolas Sarkozy can only dream of. The 2 are neck and neck in the polls and Ms Royal represents the first strong chance of a woman winning the French presidency. Surveys show that the French are now prepared to elect a woman president. But this doesn't mean that sexism in France is dead and buried. Ms Royal's critics, sexists and feminists among them, say she's not doing women any favours.
The French presidential elections are two months away, but newspapers and magazines are already trying to say who will win…. Opinion polls abound- almost one a day, pitting the front runners, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royale against others who are not even on the ballot yet. The official list of candidates won't be firmed up until the end of March. Sarah Elzas looks at the phenomenon of opinion polls that appear constantly on the front pages of French newspapers and magazines.
There are increasing signals that France is gearing-up for an American style Presidential election campaign. The campaign for next spring's poll is not officially under way, but in fact it started months ago, and that alone, is American. Last week Ségolène Royal was elected candidate for the socialist party after an American style primary campaign, which included three televised debates with her two party opponents. Card members of the ruling centre right UMP party will choose their candidate on the 14th of January. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux zooms in on the two main political figures in France, Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy, and attempts to find out who is the most American.
There's a general election in the Netherlands next week and although there's little chance of it making waves across Europe - it's suddenly livened up Dutch public life. Dreary campaign manifestos have given way to good old-fashioned personality politics and slanging matches. If you don't know who's in the current Dutch government or why you should care, don't worry. Radio Netherlands' Andy Clark tells Network Europe who the major players in Dutch politics are and how they've been insulting each other.
The starting point for all discussions about deprived suburbs and the violence they suffer is still the rioting in Paris last year that stunned Europe. The problems that led to those incidents have not gone away. Most young people of north African origin living in France's deprived suburbs, as French citizens, are entitled to vote. But a nationwide campaign launched last year has failed to convince young people to go and register to vote en masse. Many of them say politicians are out of touch with their lives. Network Europe found out why.
His Christian Democrats are rising in the polls and are now in a dead heat with the opposition Labor Party. Mr Balkenende has ushered the Netherlands through a rocky period since his first election campaign in 2002.... a period that included two political assassinations and the premature collapse of two of his cabinets. And even in the past few weeks, his party was hit by controversy - when it scrapped ethnic-Turkish candidates from the ballot list after they refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. In an exclusive interview for Radio Netherlands, Richard Walker asked the Prime Minister whether the voters will choose his party in November.
In Sweden, voters have sent the Social Democrats into opposition in last week-end’s general elections. Swedes normally refuse to go right, the Social Democrats have been in the driving seat for most of the last eighty years. But this time apparently, they thought it was time for a change. Frederik Reinfeldt, the leader of the centre right coalition and next prime minister, is working to form a new government which is due to take power on the fifth of October. Radio Sweden tells what people in Sweden can expect from the new team in power.
For many musicians, file sharing is a contentious issue. Some support the practice arguing it's one of the only ways for alternative bands to become known in a market often saturated with big names from the US and the UK. Other musicians condemn the practice, arguing that file sharing is causing record sales to plummet. In Sweden, the issue has even caused the formation of a political party. The Pirate Party, which started up after Swedish police closed down one of the world's biggest file-sharing sites - The Pirate Bay, has candidates standing in Sweden's September election.
Robert Fico, and his SMER party won around twenty nine per cent of the votes in last week-end's elections, and fifty in the 150-member parliament. Fico has been struggling to find common ground with the other parties to form a government.
Last week-ends' Elections in the Czech Republic ended in deadlock: the right-wing Civic Democrats came first, but they are finding it very hard to form a coalition, with the two left-wing parties winning exactly half the seats in the lower house. Meanwhile, neighboring Slovakia is gearing up for early elections in a weeks' time. Czechs and Slovaks spent 80 years together, as part of the same state, and Czech politics are still keenly observed in Slovakia. So what lessons will be drawn in Bratislava from the stalemate in Prague? Radio Prague speaks to Milan Nic, the Slovakia based NGO, the Pontis Foundation.
This webpage receives support from the European Union